No highway test during G2 road exam: A safety concern?

Photo by Claudia Latino

G2 drivers, have you ever wondered why you were not tested on a 400-series highway before you successfully passed the G2 road test?

Some driving instructors wonder the same thing.

Right now, only people with a G2 or G license can drive on Ontario’s major highways. This means new drivers have never driven on the 401 or the 407 before they receive their G2.

Emran Ali, from Sam’s Driving School in Whitby, said drivers who take the G2 test should be tested on highways.

“It needs to be addressed. Why are G2 drivers allowed to drive on the highway if they never been tested on it? It is not safe for them or other drivers,” said Ali.

Ali said G2 drivers should progressively get themselves more comfortable driving on highways to ensure safety for everyone.

“I think the law should be changed,” he said. “I think driving education needs to include a few hours of highway driving during the practice, and the change will help potential G2 drivers become more comfortable driving on highways.”

Durham College marketing student Samantha Birks, a class G driver, said she was nervous to drive on the highway once she passed her G2 test.

“It was nerve-wracking for me. When I first drove on the highway, I kind of just went for it and hoped for the best,” said Birks.

Ali said he wants to bring the issue to the Ministry of Transportation.

But Brian Patterson, president of the Ontario Safety League, said including a highway examination in the G2 road test is not practical because of time and distance. He said driving to a highway would make the test longer, when the test is supposed to be under 20 minutes.

Patterson said the graduated licensing system has been in place for more than 20 years. He said the G2 test is intended to make sure drivers learn the basic skills, not necessarily how to drive on a 400-series highway.

“It would be beneficial, but what we really want to ensure is that all of the mechanical abilities related to driving are part of the system,” said Patterson.

Ali said it is up to G2 drivers to be responsible for their own safety. He says new drivers need to be more careful while driving on the highway. If drivers are not confident enough to drive on a highway, they should drive on secondary roads frequently to gain more confidence.

“The whole point of driving school is for us to teach you the basics of driving, and driving in different circumstances,” he said. “Driving on highways is a re-occurring thing. It is important to drive on them. The law needs to understand driving on a highway for the first, second, or third time can be scary for new G2 drivers.”

That said, people from the ages of 16 to 26 are more likely be involved in a car crash, said Patterson.

“Significantly, the first six years of driving is when people get into a crash. Then it drops substantially from the age of 26 to 56,” he said.

From a driving instructor’s perspective, Ali wants highway testing to be included when receiving a G2 license. He said that will fully prepare them to take the final G road test. Ali said this law will ensure safe highway driving for everyone on the road.